Biometric Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) – Pros and Cons

MFA

When searching for the most secure method of two-factor authentication (2FA) –– also known as multi-factor authentication (MFA) –– biometrics are often the first to come to mind. The data is extremely difficult to replicate, and because it’s a relatively new technology, methods of bypassing it are still in their infancy. This has led some to wonder whether it’s the next generation of identity security. We seek to explore that idea in our list of biometric authentication pros and cons.

Biometric 2FA Overview

Biometric 2FA, or biometric authentication, is a method of verifying a user’s identity using a piece of “who they are” such as their fingerprint, facial features, hand shape, iris structure, voice, or typing behavior (such as how strongly a user depresses keys on their keyboard).

These factors contain a large number of unique data points that require sophisticated technology to replicate, which most bad actors don’t have access to. Because of this, many organizations regard biometric authentication as one of the strongest, if not the strongest, method for authenticating users.

The main barrier to widespread adoption of biometric methods is the cost, as any cutting-edge technology comes with a steep price tag. Having said that, there are a few factors to consider before setting aside funds to become early adopters.

Pros:

  • Unique data is harder to crack: The data biometric authentication uses has such fine variations from one person to the next that they’re nearly impossible to replicate without advanced tools.
  • Fast, convenient authentication: Biometric authentication lets users access their resources instantaneously. All they need to do is present their biometric factor (face, fingerprint, voice, etc.), and assuming it matches the data stored in their authenticator, they will be granted access. This eliminates the need for passkeys, cards, and other traditional forms of 2FA. 
  • Scalable: As an organization grows, their security needs to grow with them. Most biometric 2FA solutions easily accept new user data and are very flexible, so growing organizations don’t need to worry as much about scaling their security when people join the company.

Cons:

  • Unrecoverable if compromised: Although biometric data is (Read more...)

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog – JumpCloud authored by Megan Anderson. Read the original post at: https://jumpcloud.com/blog/biometric-totp-2fa/